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If you are a fresh graduate about to enter the job market, you probably know that it is called a job ‘hunt’ because it is a jungle out there!

Here are some ways to make inroads into the job market:

1. Find a mentor who can guide and help you network. A professor/counsellor who is part of the industry can be a great help. Alumni associations can also present opportunities. Jobs come after networking, so start while you are in college.

2. Internships are about gathering experience, and more importantly, about networking. While interning, make connections with key people in the HR Department and in the core business segments. Small companies are more likely to hire their interns.

3. Sharpen your skills now; this is the time to brush up on your writing, communication and computer skills. Join the Toastmasters Club (a non-profit organisation that will help you develop your communication and leadership skills) and contribute to blogs; hone your interview skills by attending all interview calls, even for jobs you are not interested in.

4. Volunteer to manage social media for a charity organisation, a friend/relative’s home business or even one of the hundreds of inactive pages and groups on Facebook and LinkedIn. This will sharpen your social media skills which are a necessity in the job market and will look good on your resumé.

5. Start anywhere as a first job; a small local enterprise or a call centre is a good place to start and make some money. Remember, you are more likely to find a job when you are employed; don’t enroll in a Master’s programme just to avoid the job hunt.

Job hunting is difficult no matter what stage of your career you are in, but when you are stepping into the work force for the first time, you must put your ego aside and be ready to roll up your sleeves.

– Sadya Siddiqui
The writer is a branding consultant and can be contacted via LinkedIn.

First published in the Careers Section of The DAWN National Weekend Advertiser on May 27, 2012.